I remember, with some fondness, the days when I looked down at a happily gurgling Tori and thought, “man, I wish you could talk.” I imagined that her chubby little face was the gateway to a world of sunshine and rainbows, with nary a negative thought in sight.
Little did I know that when she began mastering language, “no” would quickly become her favorite word.
These days, there are no limits to the ways she can use the word no. Here are five…just off the top of my head.
As a question. Often, she’ll reach for something forbidden. Something like an electrical outlet or a cat’s tail. Then, she’ll look at me with a mischievous grin and say, “no?” She, of course, already knows the answer, but proceeds anyway (even after I affirm that the object is, indeed, off limits).
As a sorting tool. She’s also become a master at pointing to things that she wants. But since she lacks the vocabulary to tell me what she’s pointing at (and our house is ridiculously cluttered) it often becomes a game. I’ll hold something up and say “this?” To which she replies, “no.” The process continues until she gets what she wants.
As assent. Contrary little being that she is, she says no when she means yes. Ask her if she wants pudding, and she’ll shake her head no. Ask her if she wants to play in her pool and she’ll say no. Ask her if she wants her diaper changed? She’ll say no – but for once she’ll mean it.
As a demand. Pick her up when she doesn’t want to, and no means “put me down.” Put her down when she wants to be carried and no means “pick me up.” It’s an all purpose tool, really.
As a complaint. Throughout the aforementioned diaper changes, she yells “nononononono!” When I’m wiping her face? “NO!” Tooth brushing gets the same reaction, as does pajama putting-on-ing.
Who knew no was such a versatile word? I think I’ll start using it the same way.
“Amber, do you have time for this meeting?” NO (can’t you see I’m in the middle of a game of Bejeweled?)!
“Amber, did you see your baby eat that cheerio off the floor?” No? (of course I did, you moron).
“Amber, did you know it’s still a week until payday?” NoNoNoNo (I object) !
Think it will work?